READER QUESTION: I have a 10-month-old daughter. Currently, I only use 100% coconut oil on her soft curls. Are there any other products that are safe and effective for me to use on her hair?
CURLYNIKKI'S RESPONSE: I have a 2.5 year old and her hair is naturally very dry and tangly... like mine! From day one, I've used a light, natural, water based leave-in to moisturize her situation and pure, cold-pressed coconut oil to seal. My favorite moisturizers for my daughter Gia, include Curl Junkie's Smoothing Lotion (it's light yet effective, slippery for detangling purposes and doesn't build-up, so you can re-apply, repeatedly between wash days) and Qhemet Biologic's Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee. On day 1, I use a mild baby shampoo (Burt's Bees as of late) and follow up with a heaping amount of conditioner/moisturizer (Curl Junkie's Smoothing Lotion). I allow the Smoothing Lotion to marinate and soften her curls, while I wash her body. After about 8 minutes, I detangle her hair with my fingers and then rinse 80% of it out. I then wring her hair dry and create 10-20 twists or plaits. I allow it to air dry and then I can style her stretched hair in a plethora of cute protective and out-styles. I do this process twice a month. In between wash days, I like to spritz her hair (especially the ends) with Blended Beauty's Kick for Curls and/or re-apply the Smoothing Lotion.
I'm usually reluctant to recommend products, but hopefully the above will give you a place to start. Of course, keep a close eye on her scalp and the skin around her hair line and neck- if she breaks out in tiny bumps, she's allergic to the ingredients in one of the products you're using.
Here's the bottom line for new moms when it comes to your daughter's hair:
1. Keep it simple. Your toddler’s hair shouldn’t be the source of stress for either of you.
2. Employ protective styles, reserving fros and puffs for special occasions.
3. Do her hair while she’s in the tub distracted by her toys, in the high chair distracted by food, or in front of the TV distracted by Dora.
4. Patience. You'll need tons.
5. Gush about her super-gorgeous, curly hair, let her pick out her favorite barrettes and engage her in the hairstyling ritual. You’re building memories that will last a lifetime!
Hope this helps!
Nikki Walton, founder of CurlyNikki.com, is a successful psychotherapist and creator of the most credible online source about natural hair care, maintenance and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. She's the author of the book Better Than Good Hair.